Con: Provisions prevent unplanned pregnancies

According to The Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health, 90 percent of sexually active American women have used a form of contraception at some point in their lives, but the idea of free or low-cost contraception remains under fire.

Stephen Colbert recently joked about the controversy on “The Colbert Report.”

“Contraception leads to more babies born out of wedlock. The exact same way that fire extinguishers cause fires,” he said.

Like Colbert’s joke implied, you don’t purchase fire extinguishers hoping for a fire or purchase car insurance hoping to get into an accident. Those who are making the choice to have sex, no matter what age, should be able to have access to preventive measures.

The idea that some members of the government want to argue who, where and how individuals can have access to such things as birth control is absurd.

Those supporting a push for a limitation on contraception cannot or simply do not want to see the benefits.   They choose instead to focus on the idea of abortions or promiscuity by “slut shaming” those who want it (as radio host Rush Limbaugh demonstrated just weeks ago).

Contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancies, various health problems and give women (and, ultimately, men) the chance to plan out their families and lives. It is simply a form of health care that can save lives.

According to the Coalition to Protect Women’s Health, a great percentage of women take birth control to help regulate their menstrual cycles and alleviate pain. It has been proven to “treat or prevent ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroid tumors, abnormal bleeding and pain associated with ovulation and anemia. Contraception also reduces women’s risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers.”

For these reasons, a study by Rachel K. Jones of the Guttmatcher Institute in “Beyond Birth Control: The Overlooked Benefits of Oral Contraception Pills,” found that an estimated one-third of teenagers take birth control even though they are not sexually active or have never been. An additional 14 percent of pill users rely on birth control exclusively for non-contraception purposes as well. The study was based on the data from the “National Survey of Family Growth.”

Also, abortion rates increase when contraception goes down. Keli Goff, a writer for the “Huffington Post” cites the Philippines as an example.

Contraception was prohibited by an executive order and access to it became extremely limited before 2000. “While the abortion rate in the country has barely changed in recent years, the rate in Manila, the nation’s capital, increased by more than 10 percent.”

Based on this example, one can only imagine what would happen in the U.S. Instead of preventing abortions, a limitation on contraception could increase the amount of abortions.
A push to benefit women’s sexual health and control pregnancies would not only benefit women but ultimately everyone.

“With the multiple roles that women play in society, to invest in the health and well-being of women is to invest in the progress of all,” said Linda Rosenstock, a public health specialist, administrator and dean of UCLA’s School of Public Health.

For these and other reasons, as a society, let’s not look at this as a war on women but as a war on everyone. Letting others mandate what we can do to our bodies begs the question of what is next? If we let the government speak for our bodies, we are also letting them take away our voice.